How Bert Van Manen voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should protect the right of celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples if doing so would be against their religious or conscientious beliefs

Division Bert Van Manen Supporters vote Division outcome

7th Dec 2017, 5:42 PM – Representatives Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - Consideration in Detail - Religion & right to refuse

Show detail

The majority voted against amendments introduced by Liberal MP Sarah Henderson, which means they failed.

What were the amendments?

Henderson MP explained that her first amendment:

provides that nothing in this act limits or derogates from the right of any person, in a lawful manner, to manifest his or her religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

She then explained that her second amendment:

enables marriage celebrants other than ministers of religion to refuse to solemnise marriages on the basis of the celebrants' religious or conscientious beliefs.

Why did some Coalition MPs vote Yes and others No?

The Coalition was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Coalition decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

7th Dec 2017, 12:53 PM – Representatives Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - Consideration in Detail - Defence appointed celebrants

Show detail

The majority voted against amendments introduced by Liberal MP Alex Hawke, which means they failed.

What were the amendments?

Hawke MP explained that:

This is a practical amendment. It will improve this bill by making sure that it does take account of the genuine conscientious objections of religious officers of the defence forces appointed by the CDF, giving them the ability to highlight that they have an objection prior to their deployment.

Why did some Coalition MPs vote Yes and others No?

The Coalition was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Coalition decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes Not passed by a small majority

7th Dec 2017, 11:03 AM – Representatives Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - Consideration in Detail - Def of marriage + conscientious protections

Show detail

The majority voted against amendments introduced by Liberal MP Michael Sukkar, which means they failed.

What were the amendments?

Sukkar MP described his first amendment as "symbolic" explaining that:

my proposal ... is that we have a definition of marriage that includes 'the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life, or the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life'. Note that there are two categories there but one definition of marriage, one that appropriately recognises and fulfils our obligation to meet the will of the Australian people in allowing same-sex couples to marry but also ensures that a definition, a belief and an understanding of marriage that has been understood from time immemorial is also contained in that piece of legislation.

He described the second amendment as "practical", explaining that it:

essentially, extends the religious and conscientious protections to celebrants. ... [C]elebrants who are not religious ministers should still be able to refuse to solemnise a marriage, consistent with their religious convictions ... I'd say there are lots of people who would have objections for very secular reasons, which have nothing to do with religion, and they should not be forced to conduct ceremonies.

Why did some Coalition MPs vote Yes and others No?

The Coalition was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Coalition decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

Yes Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

How "voted very strongly for" is worked out

The MP's votes count towards a weighted average where the most important votes get 50 points, less important votes get 10 points, and less important votes for which the MP was absent get 2 points. In important votes the MP gets awarded the full 50 points for voting the same as the policy, 0 points for voting against the policy, and 25 points for not voting. In less important votes, the MP gets 10 points for voting with the policy, 0 points for voting against, and 1 (out of 2) if absent.

Then, the number gets converted to a simple english language phrase based on the range of values it's within.

No of votes Points Out of
Most important votes (50 points)      
MP voted with policy 2 100 100
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 0 0 0
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 110 110

*Pressure of other work means MPs or Senators are not always available to vote – it does not always indicate they have abstained. Therefore, being absent on a less important vote makes a disproportionatly small difference.

Agreement score = MP's points / total points = 110 / 110 = 100%.

And then